Outside counsel. They are a necessary evil for the overburdened in-house attorney. When a matter crosses your desk that is beyond your expertise, or beyond your schedule, you pass it on to outside counsel, and cross your fingers. Will they overbill? More like, by how much will they overbill?
Meet Viewabill. The startup first got our attention a few months ago, right about the time the "churn that bill, baby!" email from DLA Piper leaked. At the time, we questioned the utility to outside counsel: after all, who wants your client looking over your shoulder at all times, calling or emailing every fifteen minutes about the latest time entry?
Today, however, we're more concerned about you, and for your purposes, this is a pretty sweet platform. First of all, it is free for you (though when the billable hour rate goes up, you'll know why). Second of all, it is really easy.
You can monitor the bill as it happens, keeping an eye out for block-billing, neglect of your case, and most importantly, the spiraling balance. As the hours accrue, you can watch the total and tell outside counsel "pens down" (really, there is a button for that) when the total is spiraling out of control. After all, there is no need to spend $50k on research for a $40k lawsuit, right?
And if you aren't the helicopter-client type, you can set up alerts based on amounts or daily and weekly summary reports.
The key word here is transparency. With alerts, 24/7 access to the bill, and detailed reports, there should be no more billing surprises. It sounds great for in-house counsel, and like a minor annoyance for outside counsel.
Viewabill has a live demo of the service on their site, if your curiosity is piqued.
- ACC Starting Crusade Against Bill Churning? (FindLaw's In House Blog)
- How the Ever-Connected Workforce Poses Problems For Your Company (FindLaw's In House Blog)
- Goodbye Billable Hours, Hello Legal Dept. Performance Metrics (FindLaw's In House Blog)